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I Have An Addiction-Help Me Stop

While the plea 'help me stop' could apply to any behavior, addiction is probably where it's used most often.  People feel compelled to sacrifice money, career and family to behave in vastly destructive habits, and then reach out and beg for help.  The very nature of the request tends to squeeze compassion out of our every cell.  Once addicts know the true meaning of the plea, they'll stop asking and start stopping.  This article is to help all addicts, and the 2-3 non-addicts, to understand what 'help me stop' really means.

Help Me Stop Means I Have No Control:

An old physical joke has someone showing only his head and neck around a corner, then reaching around with a hand to choke himself, while acting surprised and frightened.  This is the image I get when someone asks me to help them stop doing something.  Having been addicted to tobacco, alcohol, drugs, sex and food, I want you to know I can empathize with you, whatever addiction you have.  But, when you ask for someone else to help you stop, it means you've given up on stopping yourself.  We have to reject this thinking in order to recover.

One of AA's 12 steps is admitting that you're powerless to help yourself and you need God's help to recover.  While I understand the reasons behind the wording, if you can get to a meeting, work the steps and ask for God's help, you're far from powerless.  This is a difference not just in words, but in attitude.  The attitude of 'help me stop' says, "I can't do anything and might as well continue to be a slave to my addiction."  The AA attitude is, "I'll get to a meeting, seek God's help, and stay sober one day at a time...that's enough."    

Help Me Stop Means I Want Sympathy:

As much as the plea means addicts feel they can't stop, it also means they want you to help and support them because they can't stop.  The plea is a tool to manipulate those who care, to provide food, clothing, shelter, even money, not so the addict can they can continue with their addiction.  How many families and friends have fallen for this one?  Oh, they'll make a good show of it for the right amount of sympathy...maybe even check into rehab to keep their job, but it's all just a ploy to garner more sympathy and more support from unwitting loved ones. 

Whole communities have been sucked into spending millions to support addictions, rather than recovery.  Sympathy causes communities to hand out free needles to IV drug users, thinking they're saving them from some of the consequences of addiction.  Many communities now provide methadone to heroine addicts, thinking this helps them with their addiction.  All these things do is enable addiction by making it easier to be an addict.  This actually harms addicts because it delays the day they have to face the real choice of recovery or death.  This choice is often the only thing that will force an addict to choose recovery.  For those who choose otherwise, no program will help.

Help me Stop Means I Want To Escape Responsibility:

Often, these addiction programs help addicts do something they're already very good at...escaping responsibility.  Addicts will make anyone responsible for their behavior but themselves.  They take the drugs, but can't help it, so it's my fault or your fault or the government, ex-wife or ex-boss.  You see this a lot among Christian addicts, who will ask for God to remove the addiction.  Then, if they still want their drug, it's God's fault for not healing them.  All addicts repeat after me, "I did this to myself!"  Once you 'own' the problem, you have far greater control over the solution.  Now you can take an honest assessment of yourself (also in the 12 steps) to start getting at the root causes of your addiction and get on to doing what it takes for recovery.

I Stopped, Please Help Me:

This plea is the one I long to hear, because it tells me you're exercising your control, seeking help rather than sympathy and accepting the responsibility.  Any addict in this frame of mind can be helped, because they really want help to live in recovery and not addiction.  The kind of help we want in this case isn't home, food, clothing, but help to understand ourselves, heal relationships and chart a new course free of addiction.  When you want this kind of help, you won't need help to quit. 

I want you to know there is someone who can help, who loves you and wants only the best for you.  That someone is God.  If you want help from God, just click on Help Me God.

What actions have helped you stop your addiction?

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